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Sidewall (USA), 1879–87

This is a Sidewall. It was manufactured by American Wall Paper Manufacturers' Association. It is dated 1879–87 and we acquired it in 2009. Its medium is machine printed on paper. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

This Anglo-Japanesque-style wallpaper is distinguished by the variety of asymmetrically arranged elements. The large central landscape with a peacock and urns under an arbor is surrounded by geometric frames that contain either urns or potted plants against a crackle background and stylized floral motifs. One circular ornament directly below the landscape contains an interior view.
The design of this work is modeled after other papers from the same period, most notably the Brooklyn Bridge paper in the museum’s collection, which creates alternating columns of vases and landscapes when seen in repeat. Some liberties were taken with the original formula by the addition of a second column of vases. When taken in context, this paper probably would have been the sidewall used in a tripartite wall decoration which consisted of a dado, sidewall, and frieze combination. The highly detailed ornaments and copious use of metallic gold pigment would have created a richly illustrated background for all the accoutrements of an Aesthetic interior.
The pattern is very representative of the late 19th century and its design ideals and would make a fine contextual complement when displayed with Aesthetic period furniture and objects from the museum’s collection.

It is credited Gift of Greg Kuharic.

  • Mirror, ca. 1790
  • japanned wood, mirrored plate glass.
  • Bequest of Mrs. John Innes Kane.
  • 1926-22-230

Its dimensions are

L x W x D: 58 x 50 cm (22 13/16 x 19 11/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall (USA), 1879–87; Manufactured by American Wall Paper Manufacturers' Association (United States); machine printed on paper; L x W x D: 58 x 50 cm (22 13/16 x 19 11/16 in.); Gift of Greg Kuharic; 2009-51-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Passion for the Exotic: Japonism.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sidewall (USA), 1879–87 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 January 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>